COMMENTARY: AFTER A BLOODY SATURDAY OF 22 JUNE ETHIOPIA NEEDS A NEW NATIONAL CONSENSUS, URGENTLY


From left: General Seare Mekonnen, Chief of staff of the National defense force of Ethiopia, Migbaru Kebede, the Attorney General of Amhara regional state Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), President of Amhara regional state, and Azeze Wasse, Amhara regional state administration’s public organization advisor all in their respective coffins ready for burial

26/2019 -Like millions of my fellow country women and men, I am shocked and saddened by the events of Ethiopia’s bloody Saturday. Yes, the killings that took place in Bahir Dar and Addis Abeba are outrageous and tragic on their own. As we mourn those killed and condemn these atrocious acts, we need to mobilize our emotions, if only for the memory of those killed, for changing the condition that has made these acts possible.

Thus, we need to probe what these killings represent and what they tell us about the state of health or lack thereof in our political system, perhaps more accurately in the transition that the country has embarked on. In the paragraphs that follow I try to probe these questions, perhaps as a sequel to Ethiopia’s spring of hope and winter of despair, which I wrote almost a year ago.

The emergence of PM Abiy Ahmed as the leader of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and Ethiopia’s Prime Minster ushered in a new era of politics. It became an era that marked the end of the politics of criminalization of dissent. It opened the prison doors and let political prisoners and dissidents free. It rescinded sentences imposed on journalists and political dissidents in exile.

In this new era of politics, PM Abiy’s government also invited back to the country exiled political forces of all colors and persuasions. In an act demonstrative of how far the new politics traveled to depart from its past, this new politics even went as far as sponsoring by government of the return of political opposition, including armed opposition groups. On their arrival, all those political movements and armed opposition groups were greeted with a red carpet treatment with high level government officials including at times PM Abiy himself welcoming them from the airport. Read More...

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